BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - At this years German "Unification" celebrations in Dresden - three years after his first public appeal for an extensive German global policy - German President Joachim Gauck can look back on a successfully concluded phase. October 3, 2013, Gauck first called on Germany to become more involved - also militarily - in international affairs. The campaign initiated with his speech had been carefully prepared and was aimed at incorporating members of the German elite, such as university professors and journalists from leading media organs. The Bundeswehr's recently adopted new White Paper is somewhat the official crowning of this campaign. In this paper, Berlin explicitly announced its commitment to global leadership, and, if necessary, to its enforcement by military means. At the same time, Berlin is pushing for the Bundeswehr's arms build-up and the militarization of the EU. Germany is increasing its military involvement in the "Arc of Crisis," as it is often called, meaning the arc of countries ranging from Mali, to Libya, Syria and Iraq. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlins demands for a renewed ceasefire are being accompanied by reports of the possible initiation of a program to supply insurgents in Aleppo with man portable anti-aircraft missiles. The Syrian government and Moscow must immediately return to a ceasefire, admonished German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The combat in Aleppo is intolerable. Even though the combat is becoming increasingly gruesome, the ceasefire had been doomed to fail from the beginning, because important insurgent militias - partisans of the West - rejected it and continued their combat. They even refused to accept a key element of the ceasefire, rejecting the demand that they halt their collusion with al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, the Jabhat al Nusra / Jabhat Fatah al Sham. That demand was considered particularly important because, as experts have been warning for months, al Qaeda is establishing a jihadi emirate in northern Syria. Confronted with the eventuality that the Syrian army may recapture Aleppo, Washington is now considering supplying man portable air defense systems, or "MANPADS," to insurgents allied with al Nusra - similar to the ones the US had previously provided the mujahidin fighting the Soviet military in Afghanistan. The German government remains silent because its own preferences will benefit - even though the missiles could wind up in the hands of al Qaeda. more…

BERLIN/TRIPOLI | | libyen

BERLIN/TRIPOLI (Own report) - Five years after NATO's aggression against Libya, a British parliamentary committee has issued a damning assessment of that war and its alleged causes. The allegation, Muammar Gadhafi was planning to massacre the people of Benghazi and that this must be prevented was the main pretext used by western powers for their intervention in March 2011. Internationally renowned experts found no credible evidence to substantiate this allegation, therefore it is probably false, concluded the parliamentary committee. Foreign interests, in fact, had played the decisive role. Referring to French intelligence officers, the report points out that French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, was interested in obtaining access to a greater share of Libyan oil, increasing French political influence in North Africa and demonstrating France's military power. The collapse of the Libyan state and the rise of militant Islamists were to be expected from the outset. Berlin can also not be exonerated from accusations. While officially rejecting the war - not least of all for reasons of German-French rivalry - Berlin actually dispatched more than a hundred German soldiers to NATO's headquarters commanding the war on Libya. The war resulted in the economic, social and political collapse of that country. Libya is on the verge of becoming consumed by a protracted full-scale civil war. more…

ATHENS/BERLIN | | griechenland

ATHENS/BERLIN (Own report) - The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has once again sharply criticized the EU for its policy of warding off refugees. In view of the disastrous living conditions for the refugees on the Greek islands, it is urgent to at least bring a larger number of them onto the Greek mainland und finally begin to relocate them to other EU countries in accordance with these countries pledges, a UNHCR representative demanded in Athens. Berlin rejects this. The German government is demanding, on the contrary, that refugees be transported from the Greek islands back to Turkey and to resume the "Dublin III" deportations from Germany to Greece. The Athens asylum authorities' legal misgivings that Turkey, by no means, is a "safe third country," do not induce Berlin to change its course. Neither do current reports by human rights organizations, showing that hundreds of unaccompanied refugee minors are being held in camps, in violation of international norms, and some in police jail cells, often under desolate hygienic conditions. While Berlin is increasing pressure to deport, the number of refugees that have drowned, trying to cross the Mediterranean has set new records. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr's concrete role in the widely criticized air attacks carried out by the anti-IS coalition and its members has not become clear, even after the coalition's air strikes on Syrian government forces near Deir al-Zor. The Bundeswehr is supporting air strikes on IS/DAESH not only by furnishing in-flight refueling - already more than 1,100 times - but also by supplying intelligence information. This information is passed on to all coalition members through the "information space" in the anti-IS coalition's Combined Air and Space Operations Center at the Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar), where several Bundeswehr officers are stationed. Observers assume that some of this intelligence, for example, can be used also by Turkey to prepare its operations against Kurdish units in Northern Syria. It is not clear, whether this data has played a role also in preparing attacks, resulting in civilian casualties, such as the anti-IS coalition's air strikes on Manbij in mid-July, wherein more than 100 people were killed. Last June, the Bundeswehr declared that it had already evaluated more than 11,000 reconnaissance photos and passed them on to its allies fighting the war against IS. more…

BERLIN/KABUL | | afghanistan

BERLIN/KABUL (Own report) - Nearly 15 years ago, NATO launched its war on Afghanistan. Under the occupation - with Germany playing a significant role - the economic and social conditions of the country are disastrous and the security situation, desolate. Since 2001, more than 220,000 people have been killed in the war, either as direct victims of combat or indirectly, according to a comprehensive analysis. The security situation in the country has "dramatically deteriorated," affirms the German Bundestag's Defense Commissioner. Today, soldiers must be flown by helicopter from one base to another, because use of the roads is too dangerous, even for armored vehicles. According to the United Nations, the number of refugees has reached 1.1 million, tendency rising. Opium cultivation is still Afghanistan's largest economic sector. By national standards, 39.1 percent of the Afghans are living below the poverty line; 2.7 million are undernourished. The Bundeswehr, however, detects a positive development and recommends "patience and endurance." (This is part 2 of a german-foreign-policy.com series, reporting on consequences of German military interventions over the past two decades, in light of the German government's announcement of plans to increase its "global" - including military - interventions.) more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - The ceasefire, set to begin today in Syria, mutes Berlin's hegemonic ambitions. Negotiated between Washington and Moscow the ceasefire has placed Moscow, for the time being, on an equal footing with the USA in the Middle East, while ignoring Berlin and its claim to become a regulatory power for the region. This is a clear setback for the German government and the hopes it had had four years ago. At the time, German government advisors and foreign policy experts were drawing up plans together with Syrian opposition members for reconstructing Syria after Assad's expected overthrow. The implementation of these plans would have provided Germany exclusive influence, while pushing Russia, politically, to the sidelines. But, this did not happen. However, the ceasefire cannot be considered stable. On the one hand, it is uncertain that the insurgent militia will respect it and, on the other, if Washington will - as was decided - really engage in joint operations with Moscow against the al Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al Nusra, or its successor, Jabhat Fatah al Sham. Because of the latter's close cooperation with the so-called moderate militias, the USA risks hitting its western allies, when bombing Fatah al Sham. more…

BERLIN/PRIŠTINA |

BERLIN/PRIŠTINA (Own report) - Around 17 years after NATO's war against Yugoslavia and the beginning of the occupation of Kosovo with German participation, observers note that the de-facto protectorate is in a desolate political, economic and social condition. The first war in which the Federal Republic of Germany played an important role has had catastrophic consequences. De facto under EU control, Priština's ruling elite is accused of having close ties to organized crime and having committed the most serious war crimes. Its rampant corruption is spreading frustrated resignation within the population. Thirty-four percent of the population is living in absolute - and twelve percent in extreme - poverty, healthcare is deplorable, life expectancy is five years less than that of its neighboring countries and ten years below the EU's average. A report commissioned by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), describes the horrifying human rights situation, which includes vendettas "constantly carried out" with firearms. (This is part 1 of a german-foreign-policy.com series, reporting on consequences of German military interventions over the past two decades, in light of the German government's announcement of plans to increase its "global" - including military - interventions.) more…

BERLIN/CANBERRA | | australien

BERLIN/CANBERRA (Own report) - To reinforce its position in the Pacific region, Berlin is initiating a regular dialogue with Australia at foreign and defense ministerial levels. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are participating in the first "German-Australian 2+2 Dialogue" held today in Berlin. The meeting, which will be repeated at regular intervals, is one of the measures initiated in early 2013 to enhance cooperation between Berlin and Canberra, in light of the shift of global policy priority from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In view of its growing economic and political importance, Washington considers China to be its main rival of the future. Therefore US President George W. Bush (2002) and US Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton (2011) explicitly declared this to be "America's Pacific Century," and Washington has begun redeploying its military forces closer to the People's Republic of China. Explicitly claiming to "help shape the global order," Berlin also feels obliged to reinforce its position in that region. more…